Memo of Support: Legislation Ending the “Tampon Tax” in New York
AN ACT to amend the tax law, in relation to exempting certain basic necessities from sales and use taxes; A.7555 (Rosenthal).
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT
The National Organization for Women – New York strongly supports this legislation, which will exempt essential feminine hygiene products from sales and use taxes. This legislation is an important step toward dismantling the discriminatory inequities that persist in the cost and accessibility of women’s products and services. Removing the tax on feminine hygiene products—including pads, tampons, and panty liners—fairly recognizes the essential nature of these products for women’s personal health and hygiene and their full participation in society.
Menstrual hygiene products are not a luxury, but a medical necessity for women and girls that like other essential items, should not be taxed. Low-income women, families and girls in poverty, homeless women and girls, and incarcerated women all face unnecessary barriers to accessing these essential products. There have been reports in New York of girls missing school in order to avoid the embarrassment of staining their clothes or being forced to ask school staff for menstrual hygiene products. Lack of access to these products is also a serious problem for women in prison, where availability is greatly restricted. No woman or girl should be forced to go without these medically necessary products because of income or life circumstance.
Why We Need This Bill:
- American women pay upwards of $70-100 per year on feminine hygiene products, amounting to over $3,000 throughout the course of a lifetime of menstruating years.
- New York women earn only 87 cents on the dollar of what men in the state earn: for African American women, this falls to 66 cents and for Latina women it is 56 cents
- A December 2015 New York City Department of Consumer Affairs report found that on average, women’s products cost 7% more than similar products designed for and marketed to men.
Currently, five U.S. states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, have made feminine hygiene products exempt from sales tax. New York must join these leaders to ease the stigma and additional economic burden women face by eliminating the sales tax on feminine hygiene products.
As a leading advocate for women’s equality, NOW New York strongly supports this legislation and urges the New York State legislature to pass it without delay.